Sara Pascoe – LadsLadsLads

On Friday, I dragged myself out of my self-imposed winter hibernation for a trip into London.  On the agenda – dinner, Sara Pascoe at the Wyndhams Theatre, and light installations.

This is the third time I’ve seen Sara, and further continuation of realising how much I identify with her which I first realised after seeing her in 2016.  Admittedly there was slightly less for me to hook into in LadsLadsLads as the show started with the break-up of her last relationship but there was still plenty of “THAT’S ME!” moments even down to her pre-gig/interval music which was basically my Spotify playlist).

There was such an intimacy to her show which I can imagine some people would feel uncomfortable with, and there was certainly some awkward laughter from some of the audience.  At one point, she said there was only two reasons to stand up in front of people – if you make them laugh, that’s comedy but if you don’t, it’s a TED talk but I really felt like Sara’s show was both – when she wasn’t offering funny insights, she was giving us thoughtful comments, all interwoven into a story with multiple call backs.  I adore a comedian that gives me a fully-fleshed story alongside the giggles.

I also want to commend her spectacular heckler management.  I despise idiots who make unsolicited noises in gigs whether positive or negative, and I cringed every time this idiot woman whooped.  It’s so selfish and I will never understand it.  Sara has perfected the art of a perfect withering look though.

An interesting angle for me (and probably loads of others as well), is that I’ll be hearing the other side of the break-up when I see her ex-boyfriend in a couple of weeks.  Based on the fact that I almost cried on a number of occasions in Sara’s set, I’m already preparing myself emotionally for that.

After the show, Tim and I searched out some light installations from Lumiere London.  I’ve missed it on previous years, and only saw a small bit of this year but it’s better than nothing!  We down the South Bank and saw OSC-L, Light on Their Feet, and possibly others too but my favourite was Vertigo by Danish Company The Wave.

I didn’t have my camera on me so all my shots are appalling, but I loved walking through the triangular tunnel.  It’s a real shame Lumiere is only on for the weekend as it would have been great to see it in daylight as well.

The rest of the show is just about Ocado

Rob DelaneyMy second Friday night in a row at a comedy gig.  This week’s venue was very different to the West End Centre in Aldershot – no offence intended to the little West End Centre but The Royal Festival hall is one of my favourite big old halls.  When you get obsessed with something right down to the carpets, you know it’s love.

BFF, Husband, and I were in row LL for Rob Delaney.  Catastrophe has been a highlight of my TV schedule since episode one, and Rob’s 2013 book moved and delighted me in equal amounts.  As it turns out, BFF and Husband did not feel the same about the book, and I did feel a bit bad for dragging them with me (But HEY NOW they’re their own men) as I don’t think any of us particularly had a great time.

We started the evening with a quick and unusually intense dinner at Canteen.  At this point, I’ve given up on trying to have a standard dinner in a restaurant, as there’s always something going on.  This time – a waiter who was happy to silently wait (and stare) as we made dinner choices.

We got to our seats in plenty of time for the support act, Aisling Bea, which I think warrants mentioning as pretty much everyone else was late, chatty, or unable to sit still for the first 50% of her set.  I very much enjoyed her oeuvre but it would have been nice to see her and not the FOOLS wandering around the stalls in front.

Her set warmed me up nicely though, and I was ready for Rob to make me laugh some more.  And whilst there were some chucklesome moments, nothing that made me physically hurt.  It was just a lot of jokes about his penis, his naggy wife, his tiring children, his penis, and more about his penis.

Look, I’m not opposed to a good knob joke, and I like to think part of Rob’s style is a bit of ironic chauvinism (he has called himself a feminist in the past) but I’m not entirely sure the audience thought it was irony.  Most of them could not control themselves.  It all just felt a bit old-school club comedy which I am just not into.

I have got myself into a dangerous position now of demanding all comedians take me to the edge of hysteria.  If tears aren’t rolling down my face, then I just don’t see it as funny so I think I need to reset my expectations a bit.

Woman on top, man on death row

Sara PascoeLast year, I saw Sara Pascoe at the Greenwich comedy festival and said that “I definitely want to see in her own show”.  As it happens, tickets to her Animal tour went on sale shortly after the festival, and I snapped up a pair for the first night of the tour at the West End Centre in Aldershot (where we’d seen Paul Foot a couple of years ago).  

In the time between the festival and now, I have fallen for her a little more.  She became a patron of the British Humanist Association which is always a good sign and made me inordinately happy.  She published her first book which I devoured, photographing paragraphs of it and sending it to Husband annotated with lots of “THIS IS ME!!!!” comments.  The book wasn’t quite what I expected which made me love Sara even more – instead of a standard autobiography, she had interwoven her own anecdotes with science, society, and psychology with a feminist edge.  It was incredibly engaging.

With her book fresh in my mind, I was a little worried that her stand-up would go over that content but it was a mixture.  Actually, it if had have been a repeat of the book, I would still have loved it as she is so genuinely funny.  She talked about her relationships, living in south east London, and about trying to be a nice person.

There were so many things that I recognised in myself that I was constantly nudging Husband – the equivalent of sending him photos of her book.  Her hatred of selfies (“the narcissism of being in a photo and only trusting yourself to take it”) and Jason Donovan being her first love aged 8 being two of the things which I identified with.

After the gig, she very kindly signed books – this is yet another reason why I hate myself for being a Kindle reader as I couldn’t ask her to sign that, so I had to buy a second copy of the book.  We chatted about being the same age – she very kindly said she thought I look younger that her, which I am by three months and we agreed that those extra three months gave her such worldly experience that she was able to patronise me a little.  And I was able to tell her how much of her book resonated with me.  Husband told me afterwards that I came across a little dorky, but I don’t care because I LOVE HER.

She ended her set by telling us that she wants to be Prime Minister, and with the words “Everything’s going to be ok, thanks to Prime Minister Sara Pascoe”.  She has my vote.

Sesame seed and tiger prawn raviolo in a toilet cistern

IMG_20141114_194130It’s probably one of my more surreal titles and header photos, but it sums up the evening we had last night in the company of comedian Paul Foot, and his support act Malcolm Head.

We first saw Paul live last year at the Union Chapel and his absurd comedy almost broke me.  On that particular occasion, it was van based humour and was incredibly difficult to relay to other people without sounding like a loon.  We’ve also seen Paul on TV (mainly Never Mind the Buzzcocks) but he truly shines in person, so when we found out he was performing his show “Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon # Major” in a local venue, tickets were purchased without a second thought.

The West End Centre in Aldershot is a cute little venue with a bar and tiny theatre, and it was a great place to see Paul (although, as we always seem to manage, we ended up sitting near the loudest people in the entire place).  Housed inside a former victorian school, we’ve not really considered it before, but now we know where to park, I’ll definitely be checking their events schedule.

Out first for a 20 minutes set was Malcolm Head, a poet and (full time assistant-archivist at Kent Police Museum, Chatham) who shared his work which included some beat poetry and haikus.  He was very low key and understated, but hilariously deadpan – I loved him.  He won me over with a stunning haiku about Bono and this gem:

After fulfilling contractual obligations for his National Trust membership, Malcolm made way for Paul who started his set with such ridiculously high energy.  His set was structured to the point of actually telling us upfront what he’d be covering, but that just made it more brilliant, especially because the segues between each section were nonsensical.  He whizzed through insanely frenzied rants (all lies he reassured us) including observations on the Essential Abba Collection, airlock humour, and his platitudinous friend who may have killed her husband but it’s ok, tomorrow is another day.

I cannot begin to explain why I was crying with laughter at a joke about a reggae obsessed cleaner with spinal failure, or why the couple in front of us were bent over double seemingly in physical pain through the entire set.  I think some audience members were genuinely bewildered which made it even funnier.  Paul Foot was everything I expected and more, deftly brushing off some weird heckling, and even popping out the front after the show to sign merch (which I am deeply regretting not buying).

It was utter preposterousness and I loved every second.

Oh, and the photo above is of some artwork in the hallway of the theatre.  Husband told me to take it, and I was too shy to get a photo of Paul after the Dr Buckles shame of last year.

We need to talk about Adam

Duchess TheatreThis is the third time I have seen my two favourite Adam’s in a very short space of time – the first was during a comedy season at the Union Chapel, the second at the Bush of the Shepherds, and the past week at two separate, but equally funny gigs. Adam Buxton was doing a five night run of Kernel Panic at the Duchess Theatre, and we were lucky enough to get third row tickets for his final night – although it did feel as though Adam directed quite a lot of the comedy at us because we were so close.  The description on the Invisible Dot page says it best:

Adam Buxton looks within the soul of his laptop and considers how we present ourselves in the net age (he shows stuff he’s made and reads out web comments).

Which admittedly doesn’t sound that funny but I spent most of it in phenomenal pain with tears rolling down my face. Because I was laughing.  Just to be clear. He opened with the classic Moby, Moby, Moby, Moby, Michael Stipe video which I desperately want as a ringtone, but I know it would only make me giggle hysterically every time my phone rang.  His then showed us around the contents of his laptop, quickly deleting things he’d ‘accidentally’ left on there (like erotic dreams about Joe Cornish), and giving us a glimpse into his home life with adorable video projects that he’d attempted with his children. His subtitling of The Bridge‘s opening credits was amazing, and I cannot wait for him to upload that.  Blaming everything bad on UKIP also tickled me, with Adam occasionally crying out “Jesus Christ, Nigel Farage!”. It was an absolute treat to see Adam and his bright blue shoes, and I felt really sad when the hour was over as I could quite happily have sat there for another hour more listening to his demented TED talk. The bonus for me was seeing CELEBRITIES leaving the theatre at the end, including Jonathan Ross, Jane Goldman, Sophie Ellis-Bexter, Richard Jones from the Feeling, and Johnny Borrell from Razorlight.  I don’t ever spot famous people when I’m in London so this made my night! Radio Theatre Slightly lighter on the famous people but no less exciting was last Friday’s trip to the BBC Radio Theatre for a recording of The Guns of Adam Riches.  I had been to a recording for one episode of the first season, and hearing Tim‘s hoots of laughter on the second episode is part of the reason why I find it so fun to listen to.  I’m expecting to hear many more hoots for the second episode of season 2 as well, because we were in hysterics at the mishaps of Lord Sean of Bean. We had the audience participation that we’ve grown to love and fear in equal amounts, the brilliant array of surreal pop culture references, and even Adam as Sean yelling at a fictional baby to stay in character whilst they prepared the mics for another take – it was insane comedy genius.  It is a bit different going to a recording as you get to see Adam as himself as well as his characters, plus it’s fun watching them retake.  Can’t wait till it airs. Radio Theatre They’ve changed the waiting area at the Radio Theatre a little since the last time I went, adding a BBC shop which I LOVED as I used to run one in my youth, and some fun bits of BBC history.  We watched the news being filmed for a bit before we were called in, and I bought a BBC Three pen as that’ll be worth a FORTUNE when that channel gets taken offline (ha!).  It’s quite a comfortable place to hang about in now.

Hell is run by the English

Eddie Izzard

In June last year, me and my very successful F5* finger snagged 8th row seats at Wembley Arena for Eddie Izzard on his Force Majeure tour.  It feels like I’ve been waiting a very long time, so even getting drenched on the way from the tube station didn’t dampen (lol) my spirits.

I have been a fan of Eddie for half my life.  He was a revelation to me.  I remember being in Bracknell MVC aged 16 and seeing this green VHS box.  I was drawn to it for some reason, and when I opened the box and found a gold cassette inside, I knew I had to have it.  I don’t think I had ever laughed as much in my entire life as I did watching that show.

I first saw him live on the Circle tour in Brixton and almost fell off my chair into the aisle laughing.  And I’ve seen him on every tour since.  Technically, I’ve seen his Stripped material 4 times (or is it 5?).  And I was lucky enough to see him in Lenny and The Day in the Death of Joe Egg in the theatre.  I think Eddie has earned his right to be my hero.

Force Majeure is really good.  A smile never left my face.  Someone commented that he was a bit rambley, but that’s how I like him.  And I always love his theories on life and religion.  And being in the 8th row was AMAZING!

Eddie was Eddie.  If you don’t get him, you never will, and if you do get him, you’ll love this show.

*My F5 finger is legendary at getting us good tickets.  I’ve got amazing seats for Eddie before, as well as Flight of the Conchords and a night at A Room for London.  If you want good tickets, I’m your girl.

60% stay where you are, 40% I will find you

Bush Hall

Friday night found me and two of my favourite people trudging along the Uxbridge Road in the Bush of the Shepherds (as Adam Buxton called it) to see some comedy at Bush Hall.  I’ve already seen a bit of comedy this year – two shows at the Union Chapel in London put on by the Invisible Dot, and the recording of a Radio 4 programme – and this was an extension of what I’ve already seen.  Mainly because I was seeing the same comedians again.

First up was a new comedian to me, Simon Munnery.  He MC-ed the event and set up the evening well, talking about the hazards of conversing with strangers in the country (which made Husband giggle as he experiences the same problems walking to the train station here) and how much love he has for his children, despite them kicking each other in the face.

Then, one of the main reasons for our attendance – Adam Riches.  This is my fifth time seeing him and he still makes me cry with laughter (and I hate to be a smug hipster, but we originally saw him almost two years ago).  I’m always hesitant to describe what he does if people ask, because I do urge everyone to see him and I don’t want to spoil it.  To loosely describe, he does character comedy, but it’s like no character comedy I’ve ever seen.  What I love about Adam’s act is that he seems to genuinely enjoy what he’s doing which makes me laugh even more.

A surprise for me was the appearance of Ed Byrne who hadn’t been announced when I bought tickets.  There was a bit of discussion between the three of us as to whether we’d seen him before but looking into it, I don’t think we have.  He was of course very funny, but we were starting to get incredibly hot and uncomfortable at this point so I don’t think I enjoyed him as much as I could have done.

Finally, Dr Buckles’ laptop was set up and he leapt on stage, with a summer haircut that made him worry that his face looked big.  This time, I kept my camera in my bag to avoid any further uncomfortable situations and watched Adam Buxton’s presentations on earache, Atoms for Peace and Zavid Bowie.  Some of this I had seen a couple of months ago, but the addition of a Lego film that depicted how Bowie came up with Aladdin Sane made up for it.  Although, I have to say I do prefer Bob Cobbler.

Next up on my comedy trip of 2013 – Eddie Izzard next weekend.  WOO!!